After a “historically low” tuition increase for the academic year 2022-23, colleges and universities may not be able to be as kind to their undergraduate student bodies in 2023-23, according to recent budget approvals from several public and private colleges.
Last year’s “Trends in College Pricing” report from The College Board showed that in-state tuition rose in 2022 by 1.8% at public four-year in-state tuition and 3.5% at four-year private nonprofits. This year, however, one public university system is proposing up to a 9% hike, and many of the country’s elite private schools are looking at an increase of well over 4%.
The most commonly cited reason for the above-average tuition spikes is inflation. Other contributors are decreased school endowments, increased budgets for faculty hiring and salaries, and state budget cuts pushing the price of school on the student.
As a result of these economic shifts, most colleges are choosing to pump up their financial aid packages and scholarship programs to cushion the blow to students. One university system, however, is scrambling for answers.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive budget plan is projected to increase tuition at Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, the University at Buffalo and the University at Albany—all SUNY research universities—up to 9% every year for the next five years, totaling a 57% increase by 2027. By comparison, the rest of SUNY colleges are looking at a 3% tuition bump.
While operational costs have surged, New York’s higher education funding has plateaued, said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis, according to WSHU. “From the rising costs of supplies and materials to contractual salary increases for our faculty and staff, there are many contributing factors to the overall cost of providing a high-quality education,” he said.
The tuition hike drew the ire of Democrats, Republicans and other state leaders as they argued for an increased state budget for the school system.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
In-state students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will see a 4% tuition increase. Combining tuition and segregated fees, however, student expenses will increase by 3.88%, which is “well below the current inflation rate,” according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Pell-eligible students who need additional help can apply to Bucky’s Pell Pathway, which covers the full cost of attendance.
Stanford’s board of trustees approved a 7% increase in tuition, but they are providing strong financial aid measures to ensure students aren’t feeling the weight. For example, the school will be expanding its scholarship funding to more students. The threshold of undergraduate students whose total costs will be covered by scholarship is expanding to include those whose families make less than $100,000. Last year, this only applied to those making less than $75,000.
Currently, more than 65% of undergraduate students receive some form of aid and first-year students who were awarded need-based aid in fall 2022 received an average annual scholarship of more than $62,000, according to the Stanford Report.
USC is looking at a 5% increase in tuition and additional bumps in essential services will bring the total cost of attendance to $90,921, a $5,000 raise. Aside from inflation, the school has also seen a 7% drop in endowment, according to the Daily Trojan, along with a $23 billion state budget deficit.
Although the school’s financial aid packages have not yet been finalized, the school claims it will raise its financial aid package by 7%. Students aren’t going to truly feel the consequences of inflation until the aid is finalized, one student told the Daily Trojan.
The Corporation of Brown University approved an undergraduate tuition increase of 4.75%, following last year’s 2.85% rate, the lowest in over a decade.
The increase, which will also occur at the same rate for most of the school’s doctoral and master’s programs, will add revenue to support research, teaching and strategic initiatives, explained Larry Larson, current University Resource Committee chair, according to Brown’s website.
Brown also covers full tuition for students whose family earnings total less than $125,000 and all expenses for those making under $60,000. Undergraduate financial aid is one of the fastest-growing elements in the school’s annual budget.